The 2012 National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions began Saturday, January 28. The Celebration of Champions is one of the NRCHA’s premier events – and there are actually three different competitions held during the nine days of competition. Along with the Circle Y Ranch Derby, the Celebration of Champions also plays host to the NRCHA World Championship Show presented by John Deere, and the NRCHA World’s Greatest Horseman.
Going into the final leg of competition of the National Reined Cow Horse Association Circle Y Ranch Derby, Shawn Hays felt some trepidation. He had just seen Lyn Anderson and Tuckers Smart Cat take over the Open division lead with an impressive 152 in the cow work for a 444 composite.
“I didn’t know if we could be the 150 that we needed to win, just because it’s so hard to get cattle that mark that high,” he said of the score he’d need to mark on CGS Starscommand to win the title. “But we drew a good cow down the fence, and he’s always good there.”
Hays and the 5-year-old cow horse marked a 151. That resulted in two championships – the Open and Intermediate Open! The two wins were worth $14,213. He also took home two Gist Silversmiths buckles, two monogrammed jackets from Circle Y Ranch, and a $50 gift certificate from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies.
“I give a huge thanks to Penny Youngblood and the Circle Y Ranch for sponsoring this Derby and the NRCHA. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have this event,” he said. “I thank my sponsors, Equilix and Equipride. I also thank my herd help – Boyd Rice, Phillip Ralls, Robbie Boyce, and Ron Ralls.”
Shawn and his wife Tammy Jo purchased CGA Starscommand, by Soula Jule Star out of Sparkcommand, as a yearling at the Triangle Sale in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Hays had seen other Soula Jule Star offspring, and he knew that Shining Spark daughters are proven producers. “We took a gamble on him and it’s worked out well,” Hays said.
Hays, of Nocona, Texas, plans to continue showing CGS Starscommand. “We’ll go to the Stakes and the Derbies. He’s for sale, but if we don’t sale him we’ll just continue showing him,” he said.
Anderson and Tuckers Smart Cat, who won $2,465 for the high cow work score, took home the Open Reserve Championship. Owner David Archer of Clovis, California, won $8,626, a Gist Silversmiths buckle, and a monogrammed jacket from Circle Y Ranch. Tuckers Smart Cat is by WR This Cats Smart out of Smoke Time Tuck.
Hays actually finished 1-2 in the Intermediate Open, taking the Reserve title, a monogrammed jacket from Circle Y Ranch, a Gist Silversmiths buckle, and $2,123 on Thecrowdlovesme with a 433. Thecrowdlovesme, by Smart Chic Olena out of Shine Smartly, is owned by Yellow Creek Ranch and D & B Brown.
NRCHA Circle Y Ranch Limited Open Derby
Penny Youngblood didn’t just sponsor the Circle Y Ranch Derby at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions – she filled another role as an owner! Her horse, Savannahboonsmal, claimed the Limited Open Championship with Benton Bland at the reins.
Bland and Savannahboonsmal finished the Derby with a 427, winning $1,145, a Gist Silversmiths buckle, and a monogrammed jacket sponsored by the Circle Y Ranch.
The pair started the week with a 141 in the herd work, followed that with a 141 in the rein work, and finished strong Monday afternoon tied for the high score of the Limited Open cow work with a 145. “She worked really good all week. I thought I had warmed her up too much in the cutting. I didn’t mark like I should have and that was my fault,” he said. “I didn’t warm up too much today – she was good and had a lot of energy and that was exactly what we needed.”
Youngblood purchased Savannahboonsmal at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Sale in 2010. Benton and the mare, by Peptoboonsmal out of Savannah Hickory, returned to the Snaffle Bit Futurity in 2011, winning the Limited Open Reserve Championship. “This is only the second time we’ve shown here. We’ve been really pleased.” He added, “I give a huge thanks to Penny Youngblood for putting me on good horses.”
Winston Hansma and Mylights also had a 427 composite, but NRCHA rules dictate that in the event of a tie, the Championship goes to the entry with the higher cow work, so Hansma and Mylights took home the Reserve title, worth $954, along with a Gist Silversmiths buckle and a monogrammed jacket from Circle Y Ranch.
Hansma has over $2 million in National Cutting Horse Association earnings, over $200,000 which was won on his stallion CD Lights, sire of Mylights, who is out of A Genuine High Brow. Mylights is owned by Hansma and Danny Motes, of Weatherford, Texas.
Joe Harper and DC Quejana Pep tied Bland for the high cow work score of the Limited Open with a 145, winning $273. CD Quejana Pep, owned by Chris Brown of Parrish, Florida, is by Quejanaisalena out of Peppina Hickory.
Circle Y Ranch Derby Novice Horse Open
The $5K Novice Horse Open division at National Reined Cow Horse Association premier events is open to horses with less than $5,000 in NRCHA earnings.
At the Circle Y Ranch Derby, which is held as part of the NRCHA Celebration of Champions, Corey Cushing and Four Or Five Times won the title with a 437.5. They collected $2,266, a monogrammed jacket from Circle Y Ranch, and a Gist Silversmiths buckle.
“He was good all the way through the event,” Cushing, of Scottsdale, Arizona, said after the awards ceremony. Cushing and Four Or Five Times marked a 143 in the herd work, followed that with a 148.5, and finished with a 146 in the cow work. “We didn’t cut the best cows out of the herd, but he was really good in the reining and excellent in the cows. He’s a good enough horse to make up for mistakes.”
Four Or Five Times, by One Time Pepto out of Lovely Lynnie O Lena, is owned by Matthews Cutting Horses LLC. “Jeff Matthews bought this horse at the National Cutting Horse Association sale two years ago. He’s been a lot of fun to train.” He added, “We had bad luck at the Snaffle Bit Futurity, but Jeff and I knew not to give up.”
Cushing said, “I thank my sponsors and great customers – I’ve got great customers. I also thank my family for their support, and I really wish they were here.”
The plan is for Four Or Five Times to continue showing in NRCHA events. “He’s a gorgeous horse. He’s so much fun to ride, is easy to train, and is up for whatever. I just want to keep going with him,” he said.
A scant half-point separated first and second place, and Doug Williamson and ARC Sailing Chic took the reserve title with a 437. Williamson and ARC Sailing Chic, owned by Barbara Hastings of Glendale, California, won $1,813 and a monogrammed jacket from Circle Y Ranch. ARC Sailing Chic is by Chic Please out of Sailing Spark.
Riding Wright Shiney Penny for Garth and Amanda Gardiner of Ashland, Kansas, Jaton Lord marked the Novice Horse Open cow work high score – a 151! That high score came with a check for $518. Wright Shiney Penny is by Lenas Wright On out of Miss Shiney Cash.
NRCHA Circle Y Ranch Level 1 Limited Open
Kelby Phillips and Diamond J Starlite went into the cow work of the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s Circle Y Ranch Derby with a four-point advantage in the Level 1 Limited Open. They not only held on to that lead, they increased it to 7.5 points, and won the Championship with a 434.5!
“I had a decent lead and felt a little pressure coming into the cow work,” the 23-year-old trainer admitted. “But this mare is a really good fence horse. I knew she had the ability and could handle any type of cow. She was good and just kept trying.”
Diamond J Starlite is owned, by Ty Jenkins of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The 4-year-old mare won a Gist Silversmiths buckle, a monogrammed jacket from Circle Y Ranch, and $1,962.
Diamond J Starlite, by Diamond J Star and out of Little Chickalena, was trained and ridden by Phillip’s boss, Zane Davis. “Zane showed her and made the Open finals at the Snaffle Bit Futurity, and was nice enough to let me ride here. I thank Zane and Ty Jenkins for letting me show this horse.” He added, “I also thank Don Murphy, Bozo Rogers, and Ken Wold. I thank my herd help – Dan Roeser, Jay Holmes, Zane, and John Swales.”
Leon Lewis and Playin With Pick took reserve honors in the Level 1 Limited Open with a 427 composite. They won $1,541, a Gist Silversmiths buckle, and a monogrammed jacket from Circle Y Ranch. Playin With Pick, by Playin Attraction out of Natural Pick, is owned by Burnett Ranches LLC of Guthrie, Texas.
Cody Crow and BR Winning Rey held the distinction of the high cow work score of the division, marking a 150. The high score came with a check for $400. BR Winning Rey, owned by Dona Ramsteck of Loveland, Colorado, is by TR Dual Rey out of Lenas Putty Tat.
The Circle Y Ranch is the first event of the NRCHA Celebration of Champions, which also hosts the NRCHA World Championship Show presented by John Deere, and the World’s Greatest Horseman competition. The event runs through Sunday, February 5.
The Non Pro Divisions of NRCHA Circle Y Ranch Derby
The big news at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Circle Y Ranch Derby Non Pro divisions was an un-assuming 18-year-old named John Murphy. He and his family traveled more than 40 hours from his home in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, to the West Texas town of San Angelo to claim the Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro, Novice Non Pro, and Amateur Championships!
“He was a good boy,” Murphy modestly said of his horse, Pepto Pepermint, after the awards ceremony. Murphy took home four Gist Silversmiths buckles, four monogrammed jackets from Circle Y Ranch, and a $50 product gift certificate from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies. He also won $5,652 from the Championships alone. He also won $3,094 from the go-rounds, including the high Amateur cow work score. “He was pretty much the best he’s ever been. He was solid and he worked like he does at home.”
Murphy and Pepto Pepermint, by Surely A Pepto and out of Haidas Pepermint, competed in 2011 at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, and were tied for the lead of the Amateur division going into the cow work. Unfortunately, a bad fence work took them out of contention. “We definitely had a screwup. I watched a lot of people while I was there and got some videos of different people – like Boyd Rice – and when I came home I worked to change his style and do an overhaul on him. It worked,” he said.
Murphy’s parents, Eugene and Maria Murphy, own Pepto Pepermint, and were on-hand to cheer him on. “I thank my parents for all their support. I’m lucky that they help me do this and I get to go to the big shows,” he said. “I also thank Boyd Rice, Robbie Boyce, John Swales, Brad Peterson, the people I came with, and everyone else who has helped me.”
Rhoda Rein, of Watkins, Colorado, marked the high cow work score for the Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro, and Novice Non Pro divisions with a 146. She was riding her horse, Dig My Peppy Steps, and won $975. Dig My Peppy Steps is by Diggers Rest out of Pep In My Step.
Clovis, California, Non Pro Tish Wilhite finished as the Non Pro Reserve Champion with a 428 composite, and collected $1,966. Wilhite was riding Smokin My Cash, by Smokums Prize out of Cash My Lean. She received a Gist Silversmiths buckle, a monogrammed jacket from Circle Y Ranch, and a $50 gift certificate from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies.
Lorna Neel, of Millsap, Texas, took the Reserve title in the Intermediate Non Pro and Novice Non Pro divisions on Tex Me A Pepto. Neel and Tex Me A Pepto, by Zezes Pepto Cat and out of Texas Switch, marked a 422.5 to win $1,024 in the Intermediate Non Pro and $341 in the Novice Non Pro. She was also presented with two Gist Silversmiths buckles and two monogrammed jackets from Circle Y Ranch.
The Amateur Reserve Championship went to Carolyn Edson and Daphne Doo Right with a 408.5. Edson, of Anacortes, Washington, took home a Gist Silversmiths buckle and a monogrammed jacket from Circle Y Ranch, as well as a check for $1,175. Daphne Doo Right is by Chex My Freckles out of Little Dolly Mac.
Circle Y Ranch Non Pro Limited Derby
In 2011, the National Reined Cow Horse Association created a new class for its Limited Age Events – the Non Pro Limited. Competitors in this class compete in the herd and rein work, but instead of showing “down the fence” in the cow work, they complete only the boxing portion of the cow work.
The inaugural class debuted at the 2012 Circle Y Ranch Derby, held as part of the Celebration of Champions. Eleise Blake, of Whitesboro, Texas, piloted her horse Jills A Little Blue to the championship with a 426.5 composite. Blake collected a check for $637, a Gist Silversmiths buckle, and a monogrammed jacket from Circle Y Ranch.
Blake and Jills A Little Blue started the competition off strong, marking a 145 in the herd work. “I didn’t think that we’d do that good!” she said. “I had wonderful herd help. Thank you to Jay McLaughlin, Winston Hansma, Robbie Boyce and Ronnie Ralls. Jay and Winston were holding herd and helped me pick the right cattle.”
The next day, the pair marked a steady 139.5 in the rein work. Blake explained that she was just easing through the run because she has to make at least two more runs this weekend. “We’re going to be showing in the World Championship Show in the two Non Pro Limited classes,” she said. “I was pleased with the rein work. She was easy to get around and we were on a loose rein – which is a little new for us. Our lead changes – which gave us trouble the last time we showed – were great.”
The pair finished up the Derby with a 142 in the cow work. “Today was ok. I wasn’t as focused as I could have been. Pleased to get in there and not lose a cow – and we had one that was trying us!”
Blake, an accountant, owns her own business called Equine Services Unlimited. Her business boasts a full service accounting staff, provides computer technical support and repair, and she also works as a business consultant. She has worked with Carol Rose for more than 17 years. “I thank Carol for all her support, because I wouldn’t be showing without her,” Blake, who has only been showing cow horses for three years, explained.
Jade Kruse, of Oakley, Kansas, was the Non Pro Limited Reserve Champion on her horse Nitro Lena Rey. Kruse and Nitro Lena Rey, by Nitro Dual Doc out of Janie Jr Too, marked the high cow work score – a 148 – and collected $91.
Circle Y Ranch, owned by Penny Youngblood, is located on a beautiful 400-acre site outside Aubrey, Texas. Owner/manager Youngblood is assisted by breeding manager Nancy Pearce along with head trainer Benton Bland, assistant trainer Chelsey Fuller, and ranch foreman Johnny Whisenhunt. For more information, visit www.circleyquarterhorses.com.
The National Reined Cow Horse Association, now in its 62nd year, is the governing body of cow horse competition, is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the cow horse. Through the support of a Corporate Partner family that includes Bob’s Custom Saddles, Cinch, Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, John Deere, Markel Insurance Company, Platinum Performance, Quarter Horse News, Rios of Mercedes, the Silver Legacy Hotel and Casino, and Merial products UlcerGard and EQUIOXX, the association works to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today’s equine industry. For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the NRCHA Official Web Site at www.nrcha.com.